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Question
How important is it to have a lawn in your front yard to add to 'curb appeal' to sell your house?  My front lawn is dead and I am considering a lagoon shaped island with decorative rock and shrubs and then a paver pathway around it. This would be low maintenance and reduce my water bill. There is a nice large lawn in the backyard. So a buyer would still have a lawn in the back. Would doing this make it more difficult to sell the house?

I'd like to do this because if I decide to stay the low maintenance front yard appeals to me especially since if I travel I don't have to worry about the front yard grass getting too long. But I don't want to make it hugely difficult to sell either.

Answer
Hi Jim.

Thank you for your question. This is an interesting one. As you already know, curb appeal is ESSENTIAL! Unless one's home is in an area where there are frequent drought concerns, and given your location I'm guessing that's not yours, the appeal of a low water, low maintenance front yard is often lost on most home buyers. The reason I mention this is so we are on a 'level playing field'. Your decision right now is more for you than the home buyer.

Why I say this -- If you are planning on selling your home within the next year I'd be inclined to suggest your keeping, perhaps seeding, and watering your front lawn. This is, of course, unless you have a physical disability that reduces your ability to mow. My reasoning is cost of water versus cost of re-landscaping. Why go through the effort and expense of the change just to sell your home within a year to people who may prefer a lawn? A lawn is standard and expected. The island with decorative rock and shrubs, although nice and easy for you, and done REALLY well, can be semi-attractive as far as curb appeal goes.

Your forward thinking is commendable! All too often homeowners decide to do something to their home because 'it's theirs' with little or no concern about re-sell value. Or, they think others will appreciate it. And, to an extent, that's true. There will be people who will like that look. Unfortunately, not as many who will prefer a lawn and you don't want them to keep driving without ever seeing your great kitchen or back lawn! So, if re-sell is your higher level of concern, go with the lawn. If you're certain you're staying in the home for many years to come and you have balanced the cost of watering vs. the cost of new landscaping, go for it. After 10 years or so, if you decide to sell and your agent suggests a lawn, you could change it back, right?  Good luck with the getting rid of the rocks...That's exactly what the new buyer will think if you do it now and sell...'I'd prefer to have a lawn. But, I'll have to move all those rocks. Never mind. Keep driving...'

I sincerely hope that helps, Jim! And, please know, in no way am I giving you a bad time. This is a difficult forum to be anything other than straight forward. It's great you're thinking ahead! YAY!

My best,
Kathryn

Buying or Selling a Home

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Kathryn Hisert; Realtor

Expertise

Everyone deserves an answer! My rounded background will provide you with information beyond ‘just’ buying and selling. I can answer questions regarding short sales, foreclosures, deed-in-lieu, home staging, vintage home related concerns, most mortgage related questions, and divorcing couples’ housing options. I am a research oriented individual who strongly believes in connecting all the dots and providing as much, or as little, information and communication my clients want or need. My expertise is in San Diego and Santa Clara Counties.

Experience

After 25+ years in the Financial industry, Sales and Marketing, I came to the real estate industry as a mortgage loan agent. From 2002 to 2010 I was my clients' Realtor and loan agent. Since 06/10 I have been strictly a Realtor.

Organizations
N. San Diego County Assoc. of Realtors California Assoc. of Realtors National Association of Realtors

Education/Credentials
CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) CREDS (Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist)

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